Meet Ricardo Pradel, American dreamer. Co-founder of Dade Fire Entertainment and the unfortunately-named Hiroshima Entertainment, 31-year-old Pradel is an aspiring rap mogul. For three years up until April 2010, the Miami resident was also an admissions counselor at the American Institute, a trade college in Lauderdale Lakes. That's where he allegedly started producing fake high school diplomas for prospective students. Which is why Ricardo Pradel is currently under indictment by the FBI.
Prosecutors claim Pradel fabricated and filed at least eleven diplomas-- some of them with names misspelled-- for American Institute applicants who hadn't graduated from U.S. high school. He then helped them to apply for government financial aid using the fake diplomas, which is where the federal charges come in. The students received $156,000 in financial aid as a result of Pradel's handiwork, according to prosecutors.
The institute apparently figured out what Pradel was doing. They warned federal student aid officials and the FBI began its investigation. Pradel was indicted last week and charged with federal financial aid fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Prosecutors don't say whether they believe he was taking bribes from the students or trying to increase commission pay from the university. Or maybe he was just helping immigrants and drop-outs get an education for no other reason than the goodness of his heart?
Let's take it out with a video by Dade Fire's star, Colosus, for his song where he refers to the streets as "she". Rapping about inanimate objects or concepts as if they're your girlfriend probably should have ended when Common did it best. But we figure with poor Pradel facing 60 months for a scheme he clearly hadn't thought through, the least we could do is give his label some publicity.